Cropping and Docking : Dog Mutilations Need to Stop

I love dogs. I have a dog I rescued from a shelter as a 2 month old.  I have done my best to love and care for my pup. Canine cropping and docking has reached epidemic proportions over the years. I ran across a post on Facebook that made my stomach turn. I will admit I am pretty naïve when it comes to pure bred dog breeds(tantamount to inbreeding, but that is another rant). I guess I always thought Doberman and several other breeds were bred genetically to have the ear shapes and stubby tails I am familiar with seeing.  I was horrified and disgusted to find out the humans who claim to “love” their animals actually mutilate their dogs to force them to look this way.  Needless to say I abhor this and would invite all my readers and friends to champion this issue with me and bring an end to this barbaric and unnecessary practice.

Just a few fact here to get your ire up and your mental juices flowing.

cropping anddocking


Canine cosmetic surgery has reached epidemic proportions. Over 130,000 puppies undergo an unnecessary cosmetic surgery in the United States each year.

Tail docking refers to the amputation of all, or part of an animal’s tail, using a cutting or crushing instrument.  The amputation of dogs’ tails (vertebral column) IS STRICTLY for cosmetic purposes. Approximately seventy breeds of dog are subject to tail docking. In the United States, depending upon the jurisdiction, a veterinarian may not be required to dock a dog’s tail; as such, dog breeders and dog owners without veterinary training often undertake this procedure. Tails are usually docked when a puppy is two to five days old, and an anesthetic is not generally administered.

Ear cropping refers to the practice of reshaping a dog’s ears by surgically removing the pinna, or “floppy part” of the ear. Generally, approximately one-half of the ear is removed. Ears are cropped when a puppy is between nine and twelve weeks old. Because ear cropping is a surgery and a general anesthetic is required, the procedure is generally performed by a veterinarian, although breeders and dog owners often undertake amateur attempts of the ear cropping procedure. Once the pinna is removed, the veterinarian then tapes the ears in an erect position to a splint or bracket. Post-operative pain medication is rarely provided, though the ears have blood flow and are comprised of cartilage and nerves.

Tail docking and ear cropping date to the early Romans, who believed that the practices prevented rabies. This has obviously been debunked as untrue. During the European Middle Ages, through the end of the 18th century, Lamarck’s theory of acquired characteristics was widely accepted. As such, people believed that by docking the tails of the parents, “the new born puppies would look like their parents” and also exhibit short tails. In addition, long-tailed or floppy-eared dogs used for hunting, fighting, or watching flocks were at a greater risk of injury associated with those activities, again debunked.  As such, tails were docked and ears cropped to reduce the number of places another dog or other animal could grab. The owners of working dogs often believed that tail docking reduced a dog’s maneuverability, thereby discouraging the dog from chasing game, while the other dog owners often believed that tail docking resulted in a stronger back and increased speed. None of this is true. Tail docking has been proven to have NO discernible, physical benefit to the animals.

My biggest gripe with this is why put your beloved companion for life through this pain and discomfort if there is no medical benefit? Anatomically, all mammals (including humans and dogs) have the same neurotransmitters, receptors, and higher brain functions. So while puppies may respond differently to pain, there can be no doubt that they feel pain similarly to humans. In short, if it would hurt you, it will hurt your dog.  would you crop your son or daughters ears or cut off their pinky finger? I doubt it.

Now you know. Do not mutilate your animals.  You are the human, BE HUMANE. The reasons for ear cropping and tail docking are antiquated and no longer relevant to modern veterinary care. As such, these procedures are purely cosmetic and for the pleasure of the human owner/custodian – and not the dog.


About JayCooper

Puzzled WebWizard from Mount Juliet Tennessee. Married for 25+ years to a wonderful wife with three grown sons.

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